The Bruins (31-6), one of the most storied basketball programs ever sporting 11 national titles, is back in the Final Four for the time since winning their last title in 1995. LSU (27-8) returns to the big show for first time in a generation dating back to 1986.
UCLA may have taken an ugly
approach in reaching the national semifinals slipping past
The Bruins rallied from 11 down to
shock Gonzaga, and then lulled No. 1 seed
"If I was at home watching, I
probably would have turned it off," UCLA senior Cedric Bozeman said of the
It seems "ugly" was the way to go
on the left side of the bracket as the Tigers did their share of "out-uglying"
both Duke and
"I am not surprised (to be where we are) because I know the talent that we have on this team," said LSU sophomore center Glen Davis. "We made a commitment and put in a lot of hard work to get where we are right now. We may be a young team, we are learning, but what can I say, we are here."
LSU coach John Brady said he and his team were still relishing Saturday's win Sunday night and it would be a couple of days before they delved into preparations for the Bruins.
"We watched for the score from the UCLA game last night, that was it," Brady said on Sunday night. "I don't really know a whole lot about UCLA. We made a commitment that we were going to take the next couple of days off because it has pretty hectic for us the last couple of weeks."
"It is a privilege to play a team
with such great tradition as UCLA,"
Arron Affalo Garrett Temple
LSU hasn't been blessed with the best scoring from its guards so far in the NCAA Tournament. But what the Tigers' backcourt has done defensively may be more valuable. Garrett Temple could arguably be named the Most Valuable Player of the entire NCAA Tournament holding Duke's J.J. Redick to a season-low 11 points in the Sweet 16.
Glen Davis Ryan Hollins
It would be logical to assume UCLA has an advantage at guard with Affalo and Jordan Farmar combing to score 30.2 points per game.
But the frontcourt will swing the advantage wildly in LSU's favor as the Tigers duo of Glen Davis and Tyrus Thomas far outdistance anything the Bruins can put in the paint.
Sure UCLA has the 7-0 Ryan Hollins, but the senior center weighs in at just 225 pounds and gives up almost 100 pounds to Davis, who will likely bully his way around inside. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute better be ready for shot blocking specialist Thomas. Mbah a Moute is similar in build, but will have trouble reaching his 8.8 points per game against the freakish Thomas.
Everyone is still waiting for
freshman Tasmin Mitchell to put together the breakout game that will prove to be
the difference in a game. Mitchell scored 10 points against Duke and while he
did hit a huge three for the Tigers down the stretch versus
It looks as if it could be an
all-SEC national championship game. The Florida Gators are playing as well as
ever right now. Although George Mason has knocked off one powerhouse after
another through four rounds, the Gators look unstoppable and midnight should
strike for the Patriots. LSU has too much inside stuff for the Bruins and should
advance to the national title matchup. The Tigers can't seem to put teams away
and the score should be close, but UCLA has no answer for LSU's inside presence
meaning too much Davis and Thomas. Toss in the
LSU 64, UCLA 57